IT’S ALL HAPPENING! Tuesday, December Rockin’ 31


Auld Lang Syne” means “times long past” from a poem of that title by the Scottish poet Robert Burns. And now we both know.

They’re getting accustomed to this.


The University of Texas Longhorn marching band pays tribute to outgoing coach Mack Brown during halftime of last night’s 30-7 Alamo Bowl loss to Oregon by spelling his name. The band similarly feted outgoing athletic director DeLoss Dodds at halftime of their last home game. Sometimes the handwriting is not on the wall, per se.

2. Southern 1116, Champions Baptist College 12

The best action shot I could find from last night’s game.

Check out this box score. The Tigers shot 3 for 44 and even when Southern did not have a hand in their faces, shot 5 of 17 (29.4%) from the free throw line. They were outrebounded 69-22 and finished with just one assist. So why was this school, who fell behind before their first point by an NCAA-record score of 44-0, participating in an NCAA basketball game?

The school, located in Hot Springs, Ark., is a member of the Association of Christian College Athletics (ACCA) and has an enrollment of 250 students. The Tigers have actually won three ACCA championships in the past six seasons.

I think we’ve got to arrange a game between the Tigers and St. Katherine College, and soon.

But isn’t it odd how the NCAA will sanction a cross-country runner for participating in a 5-K fun run, how it has the investigative tentacles to do that, but it will go Pontius Pilate on scheduling war crimes? Both in hoops and football?

3. Music Makes the People Come Together

Katy Perry is No. 1 with more than 49,000,000 followers. Hear her roar.

So Madonna was right after all.

Here is a list of the “100 Most Followed People on Twitter.”

Of the Top 100, 57 are musicians.

No. 1 is Katy Perry, whose boyfriend, John Mayer, good-naturedly hacked her feed last night at a Fleetwood Mac concert in Las Vegas.

There are actually more people associated with the original “American Idol” staff (Ryan Seacrest, Simon Cowell) and certainly more Kardashians (three) than there are current American athletes (LeBron James, and that’s it) on the Top 100 List.

Does that mean music is 57 times more popular than American sports? Not necessarily. As my Twitter followers (I mean that in the technical sense of the word; not like I’m a prophet, yo) pointed out, that just illustrates the demographic that’s on Twitter.

Which brings me to another point: Is there a more advertiser-coveted demographic than the same people who slobber over One Direction and the Kardashians? So why would anyone dare say that Twitter’s stock will not be hotter than Jamal Crawford when he’s on a jag?

Curiously, at least to me, the most followed actor on Twitter? Jim Carrey.

4. Who Wants To Go To Fire Lake?

The Browns, who will search for their 7th head coach in the past decade, should save $ and let the fans have the job. Surely they could guide the team to four wins.

(Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band shout-out)

Five NFL coaches get fired yesterday, Black Monday, because the very rich are very different from you and I. As Pink Funk tweeted, “Do I have to wake up early for Black Monday and what type of discounts are available?” (I think she mostly tweeted that).

The Tampa Bay Bucs will now have had four head coaches in the past seven seasons, the Cleveland Browns five. Which is to say that a few NFL owners are Captain Von Trapp, their coaches the governess carousel, and their players Liesel and the kids. When that many coaches consistently fail, it’s on you, Mr. Owner. Either you are terrible at the hiring process, or you don’t give your hires enough slack so that the children respect them. Either way, it’s the owner’s fault. If only they could fire themselves.

5. “And It’s Not Even Close…” Update

Goran Dragic, winner of the NBA’s “Most Likely To Have Appeared in ‘Trainspotting'” Award, had 26 points and 8 assists last night, outdueling the league’s top point guard.

Remember about 10 days ago when Yahoo! Sports NBA guru Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted that Charlotte Bobcat first-year coach Steve Clifford was the “Coach of the Year and it’s not even close?” And, listen, like you, I have tremendous respect for every (other) NBA-related item to drop from Woj’s keyboard.

Well, last night the Phoenix Suns won their 10th game in 12 contests, destroying the Clippers at Staples by 19 –Phoenix led by 29 at the start of the fourth quarter. The Suns are now 19-11. Charlotte lost at home to the Utah Jazz, who have the worst record (10-24) in the Western Conference.

We’re only 30 games in, but I’m feeling pretty good about Jeff Hornacek over Clifford at this stage.


No fifth chances for the Louisville star

Louisville parts ways with Chane Behanan, a starter on last April’s national championship team. The six-foot-six junior, according to coach Rick Pitino, “just did not do the right things (off the court), over and over and over.”

Keep that in mind, Louisville students, if you find yourselves in trouble with the university for any reason. Be sure to inquire about the school’s “over and over and over” policy.


Grantland stages a “Who Won 2013?” single-elimination tournament. Terrific idea, but too many apps/gadgets in the field for my liking. Where’s Sandra Bullock versus Robert Redford? Where’s Vladimir Putin versus Bashar al-Assad? Where’s Kevin Ware versus Anderson Silva?


There Are No Insignificant Jobs Hedge Fund. You can’t improve on that hed.


Crystal Blue Persuasion

I wondered aloud last night, while watching the “Breaking Bald” marathon, if one could piece together how to cook meth if you were to studiously watch all the episodes…asking for a friend. The best reply came from Lynn Huber, who said that one could “IMPROVE their cook.” And then loyal reader Jacob Anstey sent me this article.


How far away are we from an “ESPN Tebow” channel? Yes, the correct answer is we’ve already been there.

The Year in Pictures, Sports edition


My man at SI, Richard Deitsch (Deitsch and “leisure” are two rare words that put “e” before “i” without following “c) asks sports personages who will be THE sports name of 2014.


* What book is that from? Answer below.

Nina Agdal wishes you a Happy New Year.

I love this article in the Business section of the New York Post. And if you are wondering why I’m not filthy rich, it’s because I’m getting my business news from the Post, perhaps?
Anyway, after TWTR stock falls 13% in a couple of days, from $74 to $63 (it later fell to $59), the Post talks to analyst Benjamin Schacter, who downgraded the company. Schacter notes that other analysts, as he did, will downgrade TWTR from HOLD to SELL and the author, Josh Kosman, notes in passing that Schacter’s original price target was $46 (the stock opened, realistically, at its IPO for $45; the VIPs got in at $26).

Then there’s this quote from Schacter: “While we are quite bullish on Twitter’s potential, we highlight that it takes time and people to execute against opportunities.”

A few points, if I may, and I encourage you to please help me if I’m missing something.

1) We’ve got an analyst who’s paid to be accurate, who put a price target of $46 on a stock that quickly shot up, in less than two months, to $74. Might there not be some professional self-preservation on his behalf to see TWTR tank some? So by him putting a SELL tag on it, and getting the industry wondering if its over-bought, then might he be stoking the embers for the stock to plummet, thereby helping himself look less foolish?

2) Schacter himself points out that he is “bullish” on the stock. So, fine, wait for a dip. But if you are bullish on a stock and it has just fallen 13% in three days, could there possibly EVER BE A BETTER TIME to buy it? I’m just asking.

Today is the last day of the year. TWTR opened at $61.65. AAPL opened at $554.

If both of those stocks are not up 10% by this time next year, which is a higher percentage than almost every hedge fund would promise its investors, I will eat my hat (TWTR could be up that much just by the end of today.) Fortunately for me, I do have a hat made entirely of lemon meringue pie. Mmmmm.

Just go back and look at where Google was five years ago (‘$307, now $1,110). Where Apple was ($93, now $560). Where Amazon was ($52, now $396). Where Facebook was last year. None of these companies are going away. They’re only going to grow.

Full disclosure: I own TWTR so my persuading you to purchase it could be seen as self-serving. In fact, it’s ENTIRELY self-serving. However, I would never suggest it if it was not also going to benefit you. Look at that previous paragraph again. I’m like the guy in the AT&T ads: It’s not complicated.

Answer: “The Official Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”

Remote Patrol

How you may look at about 11 a.m. tomorrow.

Stay away from the idiot box today. You’ve got a lot of football watching ahead of you tomorrow, so you might want to give it a break tonight. Unless of course you decide to watch the “Walking Dead” marathon on AMC.





IT’S ALL HAPPENING! Monday, December 30


What do you get for the guy who’s won everything?




Tiger turns 38 today, while LeBron turns 29.










1. Birthday Boys

LeBron James, whose Miami Heat (23-7) play at Denver this evening, turns 29 today. Tiger Woods, whose girlfriend/fiancée Lindsey Vonn (29) is recuperating in Vail, Colo., turns 38. Woods is not on the list of players competing in this weekend’s Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Maui, which means that he may be in Colorado today, which means that it is possible that he and James could celebrate together –or did last night. Unlikely, but possible.

James has won four league MVPs and two NBA Finals. Woods has won 14 Majors. LBJ is still chasing Michael Jordan, while Woods is still chasing Jack Nicklaus. Both maintain their permanent residences in Florida, cuz no state income tax, yo.

Four no-hitters and three Cy Young awards in 12 seasons.

Also celebrating birthdays today: Dodger immortal Sandy Koufax (78) and Today’s Matt Lauer (56).

2. Rodgers, Over and Out

It was a de facto playoff contest, Packers versus Bears, at Soldier Field. Packer quarterback Aaron Rodgers, he of the broken clavicle and “Discount daaaaaable check!” ads, makes his first start after missing seven games. Fourth-and-eight at midfield with the Pack trailing 28-27 in the final minute. Rodgers escapes the grasp of Bear defensive end Julius Peppers, rolls left and finds a wide-open Randall Cobb behind the secondary for an easy game-winning touchdown.


3. “Well, I Can Thank God Nobody Got Decapitated”

At looks as if St. Katherine forward Joshua White is the one doing the beheading here.

Such were the words of St. Katherine College coach Scott Mitchell after his Firebirds lost, 118-35, at San Diego State. But who has time to lament an 83-point defeat when you have to fly to Salt Lake City for a game the following afternoon at Utah, who will beat you by 73? The final at the Huntsman Center: 124-51.

St. Katherine is located in picturesque Encinitas, Calif., a sleepy beach community. It opened its doors in 2010 and I have no idea of its enrollment, only that tuition is $17,850 per year and it is an Orthodox Christian school that competes in the NAIA. The basketball team calls itself the Firebirds, although at this stage with an 0-4 record and an average losing margin of just below 70 points per game, Martyrs is more appropriate.

3. Manti Does It Again

Te’o, No. 50, is on the field for another FG kerfuffle.

Last year, during his senior season at Notre Dame, linebacker Manti Te’o was involved in a controversial field-goal play. Pitt missed a potential game-winning field goal that would have knocked the Irish from the ranks of the unbeaten, but the referees’ miss on the play was worse than the Panthers: two Notre Dame players who were wearing No. 2, cornerback Bennett Jackson and receiver Chris Brown, were on the field. (Watch the video; you can see Jackson line up on the offense’s left and Brown line up behind the play). That’s a no-no, but the refs missed it.

Notre Dame won and advance to the BCS National Championship Game, the outcome of which and the opponent escapes me at the moment.

Yesterday Te’o, now a rookie with the San Diego Chargers, was involved in a field goal that would have won the game for the Kansas City Chiefs, knocking the Chargers out of the playoffs. The Chiefs missed, but the Chargers had seven players lined up on one side of the ball, a rule that “IS FROWNED ON IN THIS ESTABLISHMENT”, apparently.

Again, the refs failed to catch it. Chargers win. Steelers are out of the playoffs.

The losers –Pittsburgh, both times–will whine, but if the kicker makes his field goal, there’s no story here. For the record, Pitt’s Kevin Harper missed a 33-yarder (in bad weather) last year and K.C.’s Ryan Succop missed a 41-yarder yesterday.

(Thanks to reader Ken Fowler for the heads up on this)

4. Sunny and a Slight Chance of a Sharknado

That’s a pretty sweet barrel, though, right?

In Manhattan Beach, which is just a couple of coastal towns south of Santa Monica, where the Sharknado hit last July, a mom snaps this photo of two boys playing in the surf while a shark decides to get all Chris Bosh and photo-bomb them. No one was harmed. Humans don’t taste very good, after all.

There are two ways to assess this photo: 1) It may not be safe to surf in Manhattan Beach or 2) It’s 15 degrees where I live right now; I’ll take my chances.

5. “Notre Dame basketball, Chris Fowler…”

“Not so fast, my friend.”

Answer: Things that choke in New York City at Notre Dame games on Saturdays in December. And thank you for playing the “$20,000 Pyramid.” On December 21 the Irish blew an eight-point lead versus No. 2 Ohio State at Madison Square Garden with :58 remaining. This past Saturday, at halftime of the Pinstripe Bowl between Rutgers and the Fighting Irish at Yankee Stadium, ESPN announcer Chris Fowler choked on a dry chicken sandwich (we had the wings, which were slathered in sauce; safety first, I always say) and had to be Heimlich’ed by Jesse Palmer, which surely resuscitated not only Fowler but also memories for a slew of women who once appeared on “The Bachelor.”


Well THAT is not supposed to happen. Anderson Silva. This is another reason I never watch UFC. I appreciate that they are supreme athletes and that they could kill me in a matter of seconds. I just would rather watch men beat one another into submission while trying to advance a sow’s hide down a field, okay?


“Justin sure has been spending a lot of time lately with Jimmy hashtag weird hashtag at least it’s not Britney hashtag seventh heaven help us.”

The must-see viral videos of the year have been compiled by The Daily Beast. Don’t miss Jimmy Kimmel’s punking of the internet, or the hashtag video from the comedy team of Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake if you haven’t already seen them. Am I the only one who wonders if Jessica Biel is jealous of Jimmy Fallon?


Iggy’s is icky.

Even Vince Gilligan never conjured this scene. Let’s not visit Iggy’s Bar & Grill in Salem, Ore., at least for a week.


Birdman, Birdman: Wing suit studs on “60 Minutes.” “Is anybody in the whole world having more fun today than we are?” No, probably not.


An ugly girls high school basketball game in Indiana. Notre Dame alum Skylar Diggins, who was having her number retired by her alma mater, South Bend Washington (in green) was in attendance. The girl on Oregon-Davis who took the shot to the face is the coach’s daughter. Deadspin is 80% sure it’s Diggins’ fault.


Brian Kelly hires the Brawny Paper Towel guy to become Notre Dame’s next defensive coordinator.

Brian VanGorder. He picks up spills.











Remote Patrol

The Alamo Bowl

No. 10 Oregon vs. Texas

ESPN 6:45 p.m.

Longhorn defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat could be a first-round pick.

Mack Brown’s final game as Longhorn coach after 16 seasons. Will the Longhorns play an inspired finale in the Lone Star State or will the Ducks’ speed be far too much for them to handle, turning this into the A-LMAO Bowl? Marcus Mariota kicks off his 2014 Heisman campaign.



IT’S ALL HAPPENING! Friday, December 27


An accident like this one claimed the life of Philadelphia Eagle All-Pro defensive lineman Jerome Brown in 1992.

1. Jadeveon Clowney, Meet Your Future

The South Carolina defensive end, who many predict will be the No. 1 overall pick in next spring’s NFL draft, earns his second speeding ticket of the month. First he was clocked going 110 mph in a 70 mph zone, and yesterday he was clocked going 84 in a 55 mph zone.

And this is before Clowney lands the big contract and buys hisself a six-figure sports car.

These times should be far more germane to NFL scouts than anything he puts up in Indianapolis in February. These times should be putting up red flags –if not checkered flags –with NFL GMs.

We all have a little Maverick in us (“I feel the need, the need for speed”), but Clowney, born and raised in Ricky Bobby territory, is gonna potentially shake and bake himself right into a casket.

Having caused this, you’d think Clowney would have a greater appreciation for the effects of mass times acceleration.

Jerome Brown. All-American at Miami, devastating force with the Philadelphia Eagles. In June of 1992 Brown peeled out of a Corvette dealership in his home town of Brookville, Fla., (the tire tracks were easily visible), lost control on a slick surface, and careened into a palm tree, then a utility pole, landing upside down. Both Brown and his 12 year-old nephew were killed.

If someone has a drug or alcohol problem, we send them to rehab (hello, Tyrann Mathieu). And we hope that they emerge the better for it. What do you do about Jadeveon Clowney’s problem? And what NFL team wants to take a chance on a kid who may be as likely to be involved in a devastating collision as he is to create them on the gridiron?


2. The Max Factor

Sparty will have to give max effort without its leader on the field.

Still no specific word on why Michigan State’s Max Bullough, who had started a team-high 40 straight games for the Spartans at middle linebacker, was suspended for the Rose Bowl. Yet another bitter pill: Bullough’s grandfather, Hank Bullough, played every snap for the Spartans 60 years ago in the school’s inaugural Rose Bowl visit, on this exact field, of course, in a 28-20 win over UCLA.

Sophomore center Jack Allen told the USA Today, “We’re just going to have to bring an extra chip on our shoulder.” Well, sure, if you were in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

3. Cinderella Gets Sacked

“Guys. Guys! A little rough, okay?”

Those plucky mid-majors that were 10-0 and 11-0, respectively, last month, Fresno State and Northern Illinois, have each lost their bowl games. The Bulldogs lost to USC in the Las Vegas Bowl last Saturday night, 45-20, and the Huskies lost to Utah State, an 8-5 team without its starting quarterback whom incidentally Fresno State beat earlier this month, last night in the Poinsettia Bowl, 21-14. Heisman bronze medalist rushed for only 39 yards, thus failing to join the 2,000-2,000 Club. The team that beat NIU for the MAC championship, Bowling Green, lost last night to Pittsburgh (6-6 before the game) in the Little Caesars Shop of Horrors Bowl, 30-27. In fact, the MAC finished 0-4 in bowls.

4. Bump. And Run (And Slap)

Bump…looking a lot like George Carlin.

Phoenix resident Robert Bump, 49, scales a barbed-wire fence ringing the tarmac at Sky Harbor Airport, runs down a taxiing Southwest Airlines flight and slaps it. Officers arrive within minutes. Bump is now not free to move around the country.

5. Stay classy, New York Post

‘Twas the day after Christmas/And on the front page/Was New York’s former gov/With a gal half his age.*

The long, cool woman in a black (and tan) dress is Lis Smith, 31, who is no relation to former New York Post editor Liz Smith, who is now 90. The fella is former New York governor and notorious patron of concubines Eliot Spitzer. And they’re headed to her parents’ house on Christmas morning.

What makes the story juicy is not the fact that Spitzer, 54, is still married to Silda Wall –one day earlier, this affair having been outed last week, Spitzer and his wife issued a statement (“We regret that our marital relationship has come to an end”) . No, it’s the fact that Smith is the spokeswoman for New York City mayor-elect Bill DeBlasio. So Spitzer has just handed one of his nemeses, the Post, weeks worth of scandalous front pages (to be fair, it was The New York Times that broke the story of his prostitution habit.)

Only in New York, kids, only in New York. Oh wait, that’s Cindy Adams’ line. Or is it Cindi?


A very happy 112th birthday to Marlene Dietrich. All she wants is “to be alone.”

NPR’s list of the “100 Favorite Songs of 2013.” Lorde’s “Royals” does not make the cut, nor does Capital Cities’ “Safe and Sound”, nor anything by Vampire Weekend. By the way, if you’ve never listened to NPR’s Saturday morning radio show, “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” on Saturday mornings, give it a try now that College Gameday is over. It’s nerd-funny.

The Bart Simpson punishment.


My theory: Pop makes Boris wear the tight jersey to induce him to lose weight.

Where have you gone, Oliver Miller?



Bruce Dern on “Inside the Actors Studio” did not disappoint. Also, he’s easy to parody, but James Lipton is a brilliant interviewer. The quick, staccato questions he opens with are like a lay-up line. He’s warming his guests up. I’m always amazed how earnest Lipton’s guests become when discussing “The Craft.” It’s because they can see how seriously he takes it.


The Friday between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Fond memories of last year on this night, when the Steakateria was bustling with guests and we lost hot water about two hours into the dinner shift for the remainder of the evening. Did we close? Hell, no.

Imagine doing the dishes after Christmas dinner with no hot water. Now imagine you’ve just served more than a hundred guests and, oh yeah, more than that our on their way for their dinner. And you as a front-of-the-house server cannot explain to your guests why their meals, for which they will pay princely sums, are taking so long (“How about another bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape?”). Because who would want to dine at a restaurant if they knew their dishes had been cleaned with cold water? Good times.


Kyle Football?

The top-rated prep quarterback in the country, per, is Kyle Allen of Scottsdale (Ariz.) Desert Mountain High School. A high school, I should note, that sits at the foot of the gawjus McDowell Mountains and that is barely older (est. 1995) than the six-foot-three Allen himself . Allen has verbally committed to Texas A&M, a school that is losing a decent QB. No word yet on whether it’s true that A&M pledged that they’d name their field after him if he signed.

Remote Patrol

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl

BYU vs. Washington

ESPN 9:30 p.m.

Kyle Van Noy. James Franklin would put him on his coaching staff.

There’s a few reasons to watch: U-Dub’s Bishop Sankey, the nation’s third-leading rusher; Kyle Van Noy, the BYU linebacker who is engaged to Miss Utah, which could draw a camera or two and hopefully an awkward comment from the announcing booth, and interim U-Dub coach Marques Tuiasosopo, who is not the voice behind Manti Te’o’s girlfriend.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING! Thursday, December 26


He would’ve gladly taken a win or a Red Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle!

1. Like a Kidd on Christmas Morning

Ho Ho Horrible

A few days after losing their best player, Brook Lopez, and two days after their first-year coach, Jason Kidd, says that “it’s getting very close to just accepting losing”, the Brooklynettes lose their fourth straight, by 17 at home to a sub-.400 Chicago Bulls team. We will remind you that the ‘nettes, now 9-19, have the NBA’s highest payroll.

Oh, and Kevin Gar-Net was in the holiday spirit.

New York City is losing a lot these days: the Knicks are also 9-19, the Giants and Jets will not even make the playoffs in the one season their stadium will host the Super Bowl, the Yankees have lost Mariano Rivera and Robinson Cano (but can’t seem to lose A-Rod, alas), the city is losing Mayor Bloomberg (make all the soda jokes you want, the city is in outstanding shape), and Saturday Night Live is losing Seth Meyers.

My city of ruins, indeed.

2. Max Preps…For No Rose Bowl Action

Bullough, who wore his heart where his sleeves would be, will not suit up for the greatest game of his career.

Whatever Michigan State middle linebacker Max Bullough did to merit a suspension, it cannot have been worth missing out on his final collegiate game that just happens to be the school’s first Rose Bowl in a quarter century. Bullough, a senior, was a three-year starter at that position, a two-time captain, and a legacy: both his grandfather, Hank (1952-54, at guard) and his father, Shane (1993-86, at linebacker) played for the Spartans. As did two uncles. As does younger brother Riley, a redshirt freshman. Yet another younger brother, Byron, is a verbal commit to Sparty.

Bullough was both a third-team All-American and a first-team Academic All-American (3.56 GPA) who was one of 15 players nationally honored for their academic acumen at a banquet in New York City earlier this month. Nicknamed “The Computer”, Bullough had made a team-high 40 starts and was basically the quarterback of the nation’s No. 4 scoring defense for a 12-1 squad.

In other words, this is out of character.

MSU sent out a press release with the news at 9:19 p.m. on Christmas night, not long after its plane touched down at LAX for Rose Bowl week.

No idea yet what the transgression was, but Bullough, who had 76 tackles this season, will be missed.

3. “Bruuuuuuce!”

Lipton and the Derns

I know I’ve been on a Bruce Dern jag of late, but this profile of him by Erik Hedegaard in Rolling Stone is fantastic. What’ you’ll learn about the 77 year-old actor: he once did a nude scene with Ann Margaret in which she insisted he doff his boxers; he lives in Pasadena but drives every day to Santa Monica (a 50-mile round trip) to check a P.O. box that he has kept for decades; before the scene from the 1972 film “The Cowboys” in which he is to shoot John Wayne in the back, The Duke, highly inebriated on Wild Turkey at 8:30 a.m., laughed and said, “They’re going to hate you for this”; he has run approximately 300 marathons (Hedegaard’s fail: Not to ask Dern his PR; he was probably dying to tell you, Eric) and, finally, for a role that may just win him a Best Actor Oscar later this winter, in “Nebraska”, Dern was paid a princely sum of $65,000.

By the way, Hedegaard’s last two RS profiles have been of Charles Manson and Dern, both California-based septuagenarians who are more than a little unhinged.

Set the DVR for Bravo tonight at 7 p.m. Dern and his lovely daughter, Laura, (for her 18th birthday he took her on a tour of California’s prisons…where paths would Charlie could have crossed) will appear with James Lipton on “Inside the Actors Studio.”

4. “All is Calm, All is Bright”

From now on our troubles will be out of sight…


Christmas eve, around midnight. A man attempts to enter “Slick’s Go-Go Bar” in Irvington, N.J., (near Newark) which happens to be hosting a “Sluddie Tuesday” …because why not on Christmas eve? Bouncers pats him down, feels a gun. Next thing you know the bouncer, Woodley Daniel, and two others, including an employee named Clervoyant who clearly was not, are shot dead. The shooter remains at large. Sleep in heavenly peace.

5. Clips Lose, But Have Two More Ads Starring Their Starters

“I will bop you in the nose LIKE THIS!”

In a chippy contest that saw both Blake Griffin and Draymond Green ejected, the Golden State Warriors beat the L.A. Clippers. Chris/Cliff Paul missed two bunnies down the stretch and had another one blocked, and then decided –after the final buzzer had sounded–that he needed to grab the ball out of Warrior center Andrew Bogut’s clutches, because that seemed like the smart thing to do. And hence the game’s 43rd mini riot erupted.

The funniest item: the two teams refused to attend chapel together –a common rite in the NBA–on Christmas day. Guys, neither of you are yet good enough to be pretending you’re the Bulls and Pistons of 1991.

Meanwhile, the most impressive team in yesterday’s marathon (in which four of the five visiting teams won) was the Houston Rockets, who staked themselves to a 40-point first quarter at San Antonio and never trailed. Dwight Howard (a Miles Plumlee-esque 15 points and 20 rebounds) appears to have found a home.


Van Noy was targeting Powell for a proposal.

Utah’s First Couple

I’m nearly four weeks late on this, but congratulations to BYU’s All-American linebacker Kyle Van Noy and celebrated Miss Utah Marissa Powell on their engagement (but, really, congratulations are far more in order for Van Noy). I hate to say it, Brent Musburger, but you were wrong: “you quarterbacks, you get all the good-looking women” was not 100% accurate.

You may recall this Miss USA moment (“how to create education better”…as if any of us would’ve done any better while wearing an evening gown on national television) with Powell, but it actually transformed her into the star of the pageant (Miss Connecticut is over in the corner yelling, “Hey, remember me?!? I won!”) and she more than compensated for it with this appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Also, Powell is a 4.0 student who was the Utah Class 5A Defensive Player of the Year in volleyball as a high school senior.


Pre-Remote Patrol

AMC is airing a “Godfather”/”Godfather II” marathon all day. You owe it to yourself, if you really want to wear your grown-up man pants, to watch both these films. Far more important than memorizing the state capitols.


Poinsettia Bowl

Utah State vs. No. 23 Northern Illinois

ESPN 9:30 p.m.

I’ve already advised “Inside The Actors Studio” at 7 p.m., but for a sports fix how about Jordan Lynch’s final college game (assuming he does not violate team rules in the next 12 hours)? The Husky QB, who needs 119 rushing yards to become the first player to pass AND run for 2,000 in a season, did finish third in the Heisman voting, after all.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING! Thursday, December 24


“Rudolph, you don’t have to put on the red light/Rudolph, you don’t have to put on the red light/You don’t have to put on the red light…”

1. Slay Ride?

The good folks at NORAD (an acronym for North American Aerospace Defense Command so….yeah, go ahead, use whatever letters you please) are providing Kris Kringle with a pair of Canadian (!) CF-18 fighter jets as military escorts. I can’t wait to wake up on Christmas morning to learn that Blitzen was taken down by friendly fire. It’s maneuvers such as this that will convince Santa Claus to adopt the policies of President Obama and Jeff Bezos and sub in drones next Christmas. Of course, some REAL AMERICANS think it’s a wonderful idea.

2. Sunsational

Miles Plumlee –The BAD Plumlee! — scored 17 points and grabbed 20 rebounds last night.

The Phoenix Suns –and get ready to hear a lot more about this –are the most pleasant surprise in the NBA this season. Here’s a pro-Suns website writing, pre-season, that the most intriguing question facing the Suns this year will be “to tank or not to tank.” One of the four bloggers in this discussion even went out on a limb and predicted “the Suns will go 8-8 or better in March” (and definitely not before).

Your trusty daily chronicler even suggested betting against the Suns every day this season just to see how much loot you could earn. So what happened?

Phoenix, under 33 year-0ld first-year GM Ryan McDonough (Sean’s son and Will’s brother)(“Strike that. Reverse it. Okay.”) and first-year coach Jeff Hornacek, and with a stable of almost exclusively twentysomethings, has won eight of nine and now has the NBA’s seventh-best record.
Portland (23-5), with LaMarcus Aldridge and last year’s Rookie of the Year, Damian Lillard.

Indiana (23-5), with Paul George.

Oklahoma City (22-5), with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

San Antonio (22-6), with Duncan, Parker and Ginobiliiiiiiiiiii.

Miami (21-6), with LeBron.

Los Angeles C’s (20-9), with Chris Paul.

And then the Suns (17-10), with……??? Miles Plumlee? Goran Dragic? Erick Bledsoe?

Phoenix beat the fading Loss Angeles Lakers, 117-90, last night and it wasn’t even that close. They are the only outfit to have defeated the Blazers twice. Only two of their 10 losses were by more than 10 points and the only team that has beaten them in the last nine games is San Antonio.

The Suns are officially Gerald Green’s 8th NBA team in seven seasons, but he may have finally found a home.

Phoenix’s secret, outside of Hornacek’s steady stewardship? Youth and an absence of egos. Channing Frye is the only true veteran, the only contributor over the age of 28 (he’s 30) and he’s a consummate nice guy who played his high school ball at St. Mary’s, just a few blocks away from US Airways Arena.

There are no agendas. No egos. Eight different players average 23 or more minutes per game and five different Suns, two of them reserves, have led them in scoring in a game

Unlike fellow rookie coach (and fellow former Sun guard) Jason Kidd, Hornacek dropped into the perfect situation: low expectations with young and hungry players who listen.

Oh, and the BEST team in the NBA versus the spread this season? The Suns, at 20-6 (never listen to me, especially when it comes to wagering).

3. Romo ‘E Wrecked Us?

Orton hears a Who Dat

The Denver Broncos, arguably the NFL’s best team (outside of Seattle), have lost their best (defensive) player, linebacker Von Miller, for the playoffs with a torn ACL.

And if there is one team that Adam Schefter is most plugged in to, it is the Denver Broncos. So of course ESPN has him and Mort lead last night with the news that Cowboy quarterback Tony Romo is done for the season with a bad back. Backup Kyle Orton, whose career record as a starter is 35-34, will lead the Cowboys into a de facto playoff game versus the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday for the NFC East title. Loser goes home. Philadelphia put up 54 points on Sunday versus a Bears team that defeated the Cowboys just a couple of weeks ago.

Just a reminder that Orton is the quarterback who was once benched for Tim Tebow.

Ed Werder, you may go home now.

4. A Farewell To Arms Inventor

Recommended means to inspect an AK-47’s functionality…if you are Taliban.

Former Russian soldier Mikhael Kalashnikov, the inventor of the AK-47 rifle, died yesterday, peacefully, at the age of 94. It was once the world’s most common machine gun. As for its name, “AK” is a Russian acronym for “Kalashnikov’s machine gun” (and if you have a problem with that, take it up with NORAD) and 47 is for the year in which it made its debut. So, he outlived his weapon’s name by a multiple of two.

The AK-47’s signature feature is its banana-shaped ammunition magazine (Hey now!) and also that it is featured in a lot of Guy Ritchie films.

5. Dern Good

Aging. Not so gracefully.

I’m no Chris Corbellini, but the best performance I’ve seen in limited visits to the theater this year ($13?!?!) is Bruce Dern’s portrayal of Woody Grant in “Nebraska.” The film, like Dern’s performance, is genuine and decidedly not glamorous. Watch the small touches, Dern’s unsteady gait –this from a man who has been an elite marathoner –or the way in which he alternates between lucid and clueless. Will Forte is also terrific, and Bob Odenkirk lands his second role of the season that sees him potentially ending up in Omaha. Also, siblings Bart and Cole are the most memorable fraternal a-holes since the Savage brothers in “Mystic River.”

Nothing explodes –except a few tempers –, there’s no romance, and it’s one of the few films in which the actors look and dress worse than we do, but “Nebraska” stays with you. It’s real. Alexander Payne’s latest effort is, IMO, far superior to his more celebrated film of two years ago, “The Descendants.” This is his best film since “Sideways.”


Sally O’Malley Time

In the span of one week, Brad Pitt (Dec. 18), Jim Harbaugh  (Dec. 23) and Jay Bilas (Dec. 24) all turn 50 years old. Harbaugh celebrated by seeing his San Francisco 49ers close down Candlestick Park with a playoff-clinching victory. Being Harbaugh, he called timeout with his Niners up 10 with :05 remaining to ice Atlanta’s kicker. The Falcons then decided to toss a Hail Mary pass, which was intercepted in the end zone, which affected the outcomes of a few Fantasy Football Leagues.

A preseason first team All-ACC pick, Grant now looks to follow the path of Everett Golson.

Notre Dame played that game against Ohio State knowing that it was leading scorer Jerian Grant’s final contest in a Fighting Irish uniform at least for this season if not for good. Oddly enough, Grant committed three turnovers (and two fouls) in the game’s final 58 seconds, though he entered the game ranked SEVENTH nationally in assists-to-turnover ratio. Also, you’ll remember it was Grant who scored 12 points in the final minute last season in Notre Dame’s equally unlikely last-minute comeback versus Louisville, a team that would win the national championship.

More puzzling: the reported departure of sophomore Cam Biedscheid, the Irish’s top recruit of the past two seasons who was red-shirting (as Grant once did) this year. If Biedscheid does indeed transfer, he would next be eligible to play in the spring semester of 2015.


Today’s brilliant marketing idea: Hold the Outback Bowl in the Australian Outback. Teams would be a lot more excited to make that pilgrimage, no?


Carmelo Anthony sprains his ankle last night, meaning that ESPN’s Christmas day quintet of contests will be without Carmelo, Kobe Bryant, Derrick Rose and, though his wattage is not on their level, the Brooklnettes’ leading scorer, Brook Lopez. If LeBron James has the sniffle today, David Stern is going to lose it.


Today’s brilliant TV programming idea: “Eastbound and Downton Abbey.” Kenny Powers relocates to the English countryside. Jet skis and Maggie Smith? Sign me up.


Erik Hedegaard’s profile of Charles Manson in Rolling Stone. It starts slow, but the last third is fascinating. What we have is a manipulative coward who, in a few unguarded moments of candor, realizes the awful waste that his life has been.


Billboard’s Top 20 Songs of 2013. “Get Lucky” all the way down at No. 5? Here’s Kacey Musgraves’ “Follow Your Arrow“, which came in at No. 2. Terrific lyrics.



Twitter’s much-hyped (oh, you prefer “ballyhooed”) IPO occurred on November 7 and the skeptics and smart money folk advised that at $45 it was overvalued. And, technically, they may have been correct. Did we learn nothing from Facebook? The stock (symbol: TWTR) fell to $38 (yes, I got me some) but since then it has been increasing steadily. Especially in the past fortnight.

This morning, Christmas Eve, the stock is selling at $66. Even if you purchased it at its “inflated” IPO price, the stock is up 46% in less than two months. There’s REAL value and then there’s what a stock, with the right amount of anticipation and publicity, will actually sell for. It doesn’t matter what Twitter is actually worth –have you seen Amazon’s P/E lately? (a respectable P/E is < 20x, and AMZN is at 1,400x). What matters is whether investors believe TWTR will be worth more six months from now. They do. TWTR will soon be up 50% from its IPO price and it has plenty of room to run.

(UPDATE: Twitter is up more than $5 per share today since I first typed this item. Just trying to help…)


Hawaii Bowl

Boise State vs. Oregon State

ESPN 8 p.m.

Not Joe Southwick

Aloha, Joe Southwick. Boise State’s starting QB, a senior, was sent home last Friday for, well, you have to read this. Suggested hed: “Urine Trouble.” There’s being sent home from Shreveport for the Independence Bowl and then there’s being sent home from Honolulu in December. Ouch. How will the Bronco whiz kids respond to the loss of both Southwick and coach Chris Petersen, who only has the best record in FBS coaching this side of Knute Rockne?

IT’S ALL HAPPENING! Monday, December 23


As Aaron (!) Torres tweeted, “The most remarkable comeback in Craft’s storied, 24-year college career.”

1. Craft Services

I call it the Bobby Hurley Award. It is an elusive encomium, one handed out (figuratively) to that senior whom announcers fall hopelessly in love with because he’s a coach on the court, and usually also happens to be white and not about to posterize anyone any time soon.

On Saturday evening Ohio State’s Aaron Craft secured the award for this season by leading the No. Buckeyes back on an improbable 14-3 run in the game’s final minute, from a 58-50 deficit with 0:58 remaining, to avoid an upset to unranked Notre Dame.

It would have been the Irish’s best win of the season –last year they knocked off eventual national champ Louisville in five overtimes in South Bend. Instead, it’s a soul-grinding choke, the type that makes Garrick Sherman feisty.

Also, old-timers can remember a day when the Irish were able to do this to opponents. You may not recall that when Notre Dame defeated UCLA in 1974, thus ending the Bruins’ record 88-game win streak, that the Irish went on a 12-0 run in the final 3:30 to win 71-70. And this was before 1) the shot-clock era and 2) the three-point arc.

John Shumate takes on Big Red. Was it only almost 40 years ago?

Still, Saturday evening in Madison Square Garden was a colossal choke by the Irish. And an Aaron Crafty-finish for the Buckeyes, who remain undefeated, one of nine such schools in Division I.

2. Mouthing Awful

“Happy Festivus TO YOU!”

What will you remember from Saturday’s Gilden New Mexico Bowl?

Will it be Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday’s six touchdown passes (to six different receivers), which tied an NCAA bowl record?

Will it be Colorado State’s epic comeback, from 15 points down with under three minutes remaining, to a game-winning field goal as time expired (the Rams scored 21 points total in the last minute of each half)?

Will it be the fact that two days later you still recall the Gilden New Mexico Bowl?
Or will it be this moment of holiday cheer, in which Ram defensive line coach Greg Lupfer appeared to call Halliday a “mucking maggot” directly to his face after Halliday’s first touchdown toss? Did Halliday say something to incite Lupfer? Even if he did, isn’t it Lupfer’s job, as the one person in this exchange earning a six-figure salary for college football activities, to be the adult here? Will this cost Lupfer his job? I doubt it–CSU won, after all. Who wants to harsh that buzz* with a Christmas week firing?

*Per state law, all items involving Colorado must now include a not-too-subtle reference to weed.

3. True Bromance


Former SNL cast member Jimmy Fallon and superstar Justin Timberlake, who’d be the most talented member of the cast if he actually wanted the gig full-time, invaded 30 Rock last weekend and pretty much told the current cast members, “We got this. Step aside.”

Worth noting: SNL has more first-year players than John Calipari this season. Also, I love JT. R’ally, I do. And Fallon, minus his wonder twin, can be terrific. And especially here.

As a duo, though, they remind of those two boys you knew in junior high, one of whom was truly funny and charismatic and the other who was his best friend and rode his coat tails. Not that I attended a junior high where too many kids wore coats, much less coat tails.

Am I alone on this one? Did you get a sense that the rest of the cast was just like, Well, I guess the dudes who wrote “Deck in a Box” are just going to hijack the show and we’ll be over here if you need us? By the way, the best sketch of the night was “Twin Bed”, a musical tribute to returning home for the holidays with a significant other, where the distaff cast members got their chance to shine.

4. American Anchorman

“Do you have that Billy Joel cassette that I lent you?”

New York City is the place to be this Christmas season. That is, if you are a movie. Both “American Hustle” and “Anchorman 2” are set in Manhattan in the dying days of the 1970s –they’re “Argo” without Iran.

Neither of these is to be confused with “Inside Llewyn Davis”, which is set in New York City in the early 1960s, or “The Wolf of Wall Street”, which is set in New York City in the 1990s, or “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”, which is set mostly in Manhattan in the digital age. Five New York-based movies and yet Woody Allen’s film contribution this year was set in San Francisco. What evs.

5. Peyton’s Place… in NFL History

Yeah, I’d say orange is the new black…

Peyton Manning threw four touchdown passes in yesterday’s win at Houston to bring his 2013 season total to 51 — both an NFL record and nearly, but not quite, double the number of brother Eli’s interceptions (26) thrown this season.

Manning, at age 37, breaks the record of 50 set by New England’s Tom Brady in 2007 when Brady was 30.

Something to think about: three of the top five Single Season Passing Touchdown marks in league history were achieved by men over the age of 30. None of the top 12 Single Season Rushing Yards marks in league history were achieved by men over 30. Which is to say, for everyone down on Mark Sanchez or Matt Stafford or RG3, give ’em time.


Direct from the ‘Medium Happy Biblio Files”, a mention of the tome to your left, which Esquire puts on its “80 Books Every Man Should Read” list.

Quickly, the set-up is a group of eight Iraq War heroes are back stateside on a victory tour of sorts, and nearly the entire book takes place as they are feted as guests of the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day.

My favorite moment: Inside the Cowboys pre-game locker room, and the members of Bravo company are each given a football so that they may circulate and collect autographs. Our hero meets a few Cowboy defensive backs, who seem a little too curious about the types of ammo soldiers are given and what it’s like to kill somebody with a gun.

Finally, the Cowboy DBs offer, as Specialist Lynn is departing, that “we ride wit yall a couple weeks, nobody even gonna know we there. We offerin’ to help, yalls sayin’ you doan need the help?”

Lynn tells them that they could use the help: just join the Army and they’ll be happy to send them to Iraq.

The players snort, mutter, cast pitying glances his way. F___ that. Shee-uh. Hell to the naw naw naw….”We got jobs,” Octavian Bishop impresses on him, “this here our job, how you think we gonna quit our job go join some nigga’s army? Fah like, wha, three years? Break our contract an’ all?” Hilarious. They’re laughing. Little squeals and snuffling yips escape their mouths. “Go on,” Octavian says, waving Billy away. “Go on now. Yo’ boy over there callin’ you.”



Hornacek, a former walk-on at Iowa State, is the NBA’s pre-Christmas Coach of the Year.

Do I dare disagree with Adrian Wojnarowski on any NBA-related opinion? I so dare. On Sunday morning Wojnaroski, the wizard (but not Washington version) of NBA reporting, tweeted, “Steve Clifford…is NBA Coach of the Year…and it isn’t even close.”

If Woj had just stopped before those last five words, well, his opinion might have been at least debatable. Clifford has done a wonderful job with the Charlotte Bob-Hornets, who are 13-15 and have the league’s second-stingiest defense behind Indiana, which has the league’s second-best record. However, Charlotte plays in the feckless Eastern Conference, against whom it has played 20 of its 28 games. They’re 2-6 out of conference and have ONE WIN against a team with a winning record.

The Phoenix Suns, however, under first-year coach Jeff Hornacek, are 16-10. Playing in the West. The Suns have seven wins against opponents with winning records, including two versus Portland, which has the league’s best record. Unlike Charlotte, the Suns actually finished last in their conference last season. And NOBODY, back in late October, had the Suns pegged for anything better than the Andrw Wiggins/Jabari Parker/Julian Randle lottery.

I was hardly the only person to tweet such an opinion to Woj, who then replied to all of us, “Jeff Hornacek has been great. Terry Stotts. Some tremendous work. Yet to win with Charlotte’s roster and losing culture is without peer.”

And this is where I might casually point out that Clifford is not in fact “winning” with Charlotte’s roster. The Hornet-Cats are 13-15. That’s a losing record. And while it is an improvement, it is not winning.


Portland Oregonian columnist John Canzano sends one final volley out at incoming Texas athletic director Steve Patterson.


Sacco and Vendetta

A publicist –and of all jobs, shouldn’t someone with this gig know better?– releases out an all-kinds-of-wrong tweet on a flight to South Africa and learns, upon landing, that she has been terminated. We’ll just wait to see Justine Sacco’s fabulous vacation photos from Robben Island.

This, by the way, is why you should own stock in Twitter. How many other tools have this type of global power? Oh, and if you had purchased TWTR on the day of its IPO, with its over-inflated stock price ($45), you’d still be up 33% this morning ($61), less than two months later.


Atlanta Falcons at San Francisco 49ers

ESPN 8:30 p.m.

Because Seattle will most likely not lose consecutive home games –having won 14 straight before yesterday’s defeat to Arizona–this is likely the 49ers’ final game at Candlestick Park. So if you see Dwight Clark today, buy him a beer to go with the 5,000 that have already been purchased for him. Clark, 56, will be on hand tonight and plans to revisit the very spot on which he made “The Catch.” Oh, and count on ESPN to provide self-aggrandizing footage of Chris Berman’s post-game report from that game from 1982.




Here Come The Irish: Top 10 Games 2014-2016

Earlier today Notre Dame released its ACC-entric football schedules for the seasons 2014-2016. The three schools who will remain Fighting Irish perennials are Navy, Southern California and Stanford. We’ll be seeing a lot less of Midwest neighbors Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue.

Without further ado, and excluding all of the aforementioned schools from the conversation (because, of course, USC and Stanford would then be on the list, but they are known quantities), let’s rank the “Ten Most Anticipated Games” of the next three seasons of Notre Dame football. I apologize in advance: I’m not The Bleacher Report; this is not a slideshow.

10. November 22, 2014: Louisville at Notre Dame

Go pro, Teddy. Go pro.

Would this game alone be enough to persuade Teddy Bridgewater to remain for his senior season? Probably not, since Todd McShay projects the talented quarterback as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft. I doubt Brian Kelly will miss him. The Cardinals and Irish have never met. Always fun, and fitting, for Notre Dame to have a virgin encounter with an opponent.

9. September 12, 2015: Notre Dame at Virginia

The Irish invade one of the loveliest campuses in America and a town that is home to both Howie Long and Dave Matthews (update: I hear DM has moved to Seattle). These two schools have only met once previously, in the 1989 Kickoff Classic at the Meadowlands. Also, I really dig Virginia’s helmets.

8. November 8, 2014: Notre Dame at Arizona State

Much respect.

Todd Graham has done an outstanding job in Tempe in two seasons, and last October’s meeting between these two was the most entertaining game of the Irish season. The two teams last met at Sun Devil Stadium in 1998, and ten years earlier on this same field is where the Irish last won a national championship.

7. October 29, 2016: Miami at Notre Dame

In which Yale transfer Pat Eilers scored the winning touchdown…

The greatest game in the history of college football (although I’m recalibrating my focus to assess this year’s Iron Bowl) was Miami at Notre Dame, October 15, 1988. Catholics versus Convicts. 31-30, Irish, and okay, maybe Cleveland Gary was down. The Hurricanes would visit two years later, when Rocket Ismail returned a kickoff for a touchdown, and the Irish won that one, too. That’s the last time Miami visited South Bend.

6. November 19, 2016: Virginia Tech at Notre Dame

The Irish and Hokies have never played.

Hokie coach Frank Beamer leads all active FBS coaches in both victories (224) and tenure (27 seasons in Blacksburg). Here’s hoping that Beamer, 59, remains on the sidelines through this date. It’s a solid bet that he will. This will be the first meeting between the two schools.

5. September 5, 2015: Texas at Notre Dame*

The Longhorns, currently the only school besides Michigan ahead of the Irish on the all-time wins list (875 to 873) visit South Bend, a town in which Jon Gruden spent part of his formative years. I’m just sayin’…The two schools have not played since 1996, when Irish quarterback Ron Powlus provided the late-game heroics in Austin with a fourth-down keeper on the option for a touchdown. I know. Ron Powlus and option keeper. I can’t fathom it, either, and I saw it live.

4. September 6, 2014: Michigan at Notre Dame

Marcus Hall spoke for a lot of Notre Dame fans here.

The final installment, for the foreseeable future, between two schools that really, really don’t like each other. And it goes back for more than a century. Michigan was Notre Dame’s opponent in its very first game on Thanksgiving Day, 1887. The Wolverines and the Irish are Nos. 1 and 3, respectively,  in all-time wins (910 and 873) and Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, in all-time win percentage (.733 and .732). The victor winner in this game could stand atop that list.

3. November 21, 2015: Notre Dame vs Boston College at Fenway Park

Bruce, and now the Irish, in the same decade at Fenway.

The Irish will play at both Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park within a 23-month span. Notre Dame has actually visited baseball’s cathedral before, a 54-0 demolition of Dartmouth in 1945.

2. October 18, 2014: Notre Dame at Florida State

This will be the Irish’s first true road game of next season, and it could be against a school that is the defending national champion and has the defending Heisman Trophy winner in Jameis Winston. The Irish last visited Tallahassee in 2002, Ty Willingham’s first season, and controlled the game against the Seminoles from the first snap (the following week, at 8-0, they inexplicably lost at home to Boston College…which happens more often than they’d like).

1. October 3, 2015: Notre Dame at Clemson

From Knute Rockne to Howard’s Rock…

The Fighting Irish last played at Death Valley in 1977, a 21-17 win during a national championship season. Current Clemson associate athletic director Tim Bourret was a Notre Dame student (or grad student, I forget) at the time and if you care a whit about the school’s history, you should know his name: Bourret was one of the co-founders of Bookstore Basketball. (His off-campus roommate: broadcaster Ted Robinson). Death Valley is one of the true shrines in college football, and 38 years is far too long between visits.


* The Irish visit Texas on September 3, 2016. I’m using one spot for both games, but you never need an excuse to visit Austin

IT’S ALL HAPPENING! Friday, December 20


What’s left for Kobe outside of chasing Jordan’s scoring mark?

1. Kobe’s Very Jeter 2013

Derek Jeter, 39: Fractures ankle during 2012 playoffs, spends entire offseason in arduous rehab and does not return until after the 2013 season has begun.

Kobe Bryant, 35: Ruptures Achilles tendon during 2013 playoffs, spends entire offseason in arduous rehab and does not return until after the 2013 season has begun.

Jeter: Reinjures himself in his very first game back and played a total of 17 games in the 2013 season before shutting it down.

Kobe: Suffers a stress fracture just five games into his return and will now miss a projected six weeks.

Jeter: His first season was 1996 and he was a unanimous choice for Rookie of the Year.

Kobe: His first season was 1996-97 and at the time he was the youngest player in NBA history to start a game. Won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest that season.

Jeter: Five championship rings and has played his entire career with the most iconic club in baseball, the New York Yankees.

Kobe: Five championship rings and has played his entire career with one of the two most iconic clubs in basketball, the Los Angeles Lakers.

Jeter: His favorite manager, Joe Torre, played for the New York Mets in the 1970s and is a Hall of Famer, but left a few seasons back.

Kobe: His favorite coach, Phil Jackson, played for the New York Knicks in the 1970s and is a Hall of Famer, but left a few seasons back.

Jeter: Shared the stage with a prima donna who thought HE was the alpha dog, or at least demanded to be treated that way, but rarely acted that way in the big games.

Kobe: Shared the stage last season with a prima donna who thought HE was the alpha dog, or at least demanded to be treated that way, but rarely acted that way in the big games.

Jeter: Has surpassed 3,000 hits (3,316) and is now in ninth place all-time (though some people STILL claim that he is overrated). Has a fair chance, if he can remain healthy, to climb into the top five.

Kobe: Has surpassed 30,000 points (31,700) and is now in fourth place all-time. Has a fair chance, if he can remain healthy, to pass Michael Jordan (32,292)and move into third place.

Jeter: Will never win another championship wearing that uniform.

Kobe: Will never win another championship wearing that uniform.

2. The Thayer Crisis: America Held Hostage, Day 101

If you were around in 1979, you distinctly recall the storming of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and the Americans inside being taken hostage. And held hostage. Days turned into weeks turned into months turned into more than a year. At some point during the proceedings ABC put a young news anchor with an authoritative voice on the air each night after your local news to provide an update.

The anchor was named Ted Koppel and the show, which each night began by informing us what day the hostage crisis has now passed on to, would become “Nightline.” For the record, and only because it’s such an easy number to recall, I can tell you without Googling that the hostages were freed after 444 days –the Iranians waited until just minutes after Ronald Reagan had been inaugurated to liberate them, one final flipping of the bird to outgoing President Jimmy Carter.

Death to the Shah!

Well, yesterday, December 19, marked the 100th day since Sports Illustrated published, on its website, the first installment of its five-part series, “The Dirty Game.” And while one of its co-authors, Thayer Evans, made a brief public appearance afterward with SI’s Maggie Gray (I imagine this is what most of us would look like after an all-night bender with A.J. Daulerio, by the way), he has not been seen or heard from publicly since.

His most recent tweet? September 24.

His most recent story for SI? It was that one.

My memory is somewhat foggy, but in my days at the magazine the only senior writer that I can recall being permitted to go 100 days without a byline was Gary Smith.

So, having crossed into the triple-digit mark, it is time for us to be resolute in our vigil. Where is Thayer? SI assured the media back on September 13th that Thayer had not been fired, but that’s the last item that you will see that has been written about him. Even Ed Sherman, who wrote an excellent piece this morning on his website about the media year in review, neglected to mention Thayer.

“There is no Markinson.”











Has Thayer Evans gone Markinson? Or is Thayer Evans SI‘s own version of Jerry Dantana? Or is he working on yet another months-long investigation that none of us are privy to (and, truth be told, almost none of SI’s editors would be privy to, either) and we will see the fruits of his sleuthing in the new year?

Unless it’s the final option, isn’t it a little odd to employ a college football/basketball writer, pay him a six-figure salary, and never have him write during college football and basketball season? And isn’t it odd that this writer never even tweets any more, has virtually disappeared from the social media landscape? And has everyone else (outside of Stillwater)  just forgotten about him?

We pledge to never forget. America held hostage, Day 101. “Oh, tie a yellow ribbon/’round that old oak tree….”

3. Cheerio, John Oliver

John Jon

Last night Jon Stewart staged a one-night reprieve from skewering Fox News in order to open The Daily Show with a tribute to cheeky departing correspondent JoPhn Oliver. The wonderful Brit is headed to HBO to do a weekly news show which, granted, will mean a bigger pay day. However, I don’t think he’ll ever achieve the cultural relevance that he now has, where he may appear multiple nights per week.. It’s like Howard Stern moving to Sirius. You’re happy for him, but he’s no longer part of the daily conversation.

Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert and now Oliver. The Daily Show develops talent better than George Whitfield does.

4. Pop’s Opus

Big Pop >>> Big Papi? At least equal.

The San Antonio Spurs had back-to-backs this week, on the road, versus two young and frisky Western Conference foes: Phoenix and Golden State. On Wednesday night the Spurs took down the Suns in a close affair, 108-101, but that’s the advantage of having three future Hall of Famers in you lineup.

Last night, in a nationally televised game on TNT, coach Gregg Popovich chose to rest those three players: Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobiliiiiiiiiiiiiii (Charles Barkley, understandably, was bummed). So of course a Spurs lineup with mostly second-stringers led throughout almost all of the second half and made the key plays in the final minute to defeat the Warriors, 104-102.

Two games, two wins, and a complete testament to the fact that Gregg Popovich is the best coach in professional sports today. Easily.

5. “His Boy, Leroy!”

As someone said on Twitter, “Astro is rolling over in his grave.”

These four minutes illustrate why “Inside the NBA” is by far the best studio show in sports. It only took two minutes after Sir Charles committed the best malaprop in memory (“Leroy Jetson”), and certainly an unscripted one, for the producers to cue the theme music to “The Jetsons” and conjure a black-faced Elroy Jetson. And watch Shaq as he loses it. Also, fifteen minutes after Chuck’s verbal infraction, “Leroy Jetson” was trending on Twitter.

5. Compulsory Figure



Former Olympic figure skater Brian Boitano, the gold medalist in Calgary, declares, for the record, that he’s gay. Sports Illustrated senior writer Austin Murphy tweets, “Brian Boitano is out! #KnockMeOverWithAFeather

Again, Brian Boitano: Gay. Marcia Gay Harden: Not gay.

In no way should Boitano’s declaration affect the reverence that Stan, Kyle and Cartman feel for him.




IT’S ALL HAPPENING! Thursday, December 19


Rian Pearson leads unbeaten Toledo in scoring, but all five starters average 10-plus ppg.

1. Not Those Rockets

Not that it really matters, what with 256 schools qualifying for the NCAA tournament (What? Only 68? Oh, whatever…) but with last night’s loss by UConn there are now a dozen unbeatens remeinaing. They are: UMass, Syracuse, Villanova, Iowa State, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Toledo, Wichita State, Arizona, Oregon, Missouri (“S-E-C!”) and St. Mary’s.

Ten of the schools are ranked, with Arizona No. 1 in both polls. Unranked? Toledo (10-0) and St. Mary’s (8-0). The Rockets, in fact, did not even receive a single vote in USA Today/Coaches Poll. Not one.

And while Toledo, which next plays on Saturday versus Cleveland State, has yet to play a ranked opponent, here’s why I think they’re not a fluke: All five starters average between 17 and 10 points per game. All of them. That’s a T-E-A-M, particularly when you consider that Toledo is in the top 10 in the nation in scoring (87.9 ppg). I haven’t seen the Rockets play yet, but I bet they’re fun to watch.

A Top 25 school? Don’t know about that. But the Rockets last were part of March Madness in 1980. So, Top 68? Yeah, at least thus far.

2. The Walter White Shadow

“Why you watching ‘Duck Dynasty’, bitch?”

As news spread that a real-life Walter White was sentenced to 12 years in prison for dealing meth out of his Billings, Mont., home, the critics at Hit Fix named “Breaking Bad” as the Best Show of 2013. Not that big of a surprise. Their Top 10: “Breaking Bad”, “Orange Is The New Black”, “Game of Thrones”, “The Good Wife”, “Masters of Sex”, “Mad Men”, “The Americans”, “House of Cards”, “Broadchurch”, “Top of the Lake”.

And how many of those programs were rated among the TOP 25 most-watched TV shows of the season that ended in June? None of them. Zero. Zip. Nada.

Meanwhile, everyone’s favorite Tonto-turned-snitch-turned-Gimp, Aaron Paul, provided an assist (you can skip forward to the 4:45 mark for Paul’s contribution) with a wedding proposal this week.

3. Hinson Backlash Frontlash

Joanna Krupa has no problem with Barry Hinson’s rant (Did you really want to see a photo of Hinson here? No, you didn’t).

ESPN turned its attention away from LeBron James and the Washington Redskins yesterday long enough to scold a heretofore anonymous coach from the Missouri Valley Conference for unleashing a post-game “rant” after his Southern Illinois team fell to 2-8. Were some of Barry Hinson’s remarks questionable (“I’ve been telling my wife for years that sixze doesn’t matter”)? Sure.

Did Hinson ever once use profanity? No. Was the worst thing he did, perhaps, calling out the performance of a Saluki player who stunk up the court “awful?” Yeah, probably.

What was obscene, though, was how so many on-air personalities in Bristol looked haughtily down from their thrones in Bristol, at a coach and a program that they would never, ever pay attention to, to admonish him for his behavior. Does ESPN have the right, perhaps even the duty, to cover Hinson’s remarks? Sure. Did ESPN have the right to turn this into torture porn, a lame excuse to run out every “rant” of the past quarter-century (Why, hello there, Mike Gundy!) because it’s easier than actually discussing the incident in context?

I’m with CBS’ Doug Gottlieb, who tweeted, “Does anybody actually have a problem with Barry Hinson’s rant?”

Granted, there are a few things he might’ve reconsidered saying. But for me, at least, ESPN’s producers embarrassed themselves more yesterday with the coverage of “the rant” than Hinson did. Lots of noise, zero perspective.

It’s funny. With all the rants ESPN chose to use for its “rant montage”, that this rant was somehow excluded. Why is that?

4. Broadcast Snooze

I’ll just enjoy the Buick ads, thank you.

That was the headline the New York Post gave its review of Anchorman 2. Even in the previews, Steve Carell’s Brick Tamland seems to think that LOUDER IS FUNNIER! It’s not. The better film involving an SNL alumnus that’s out right now is Nebraska, with Will Forte. Trust me on this one.

5. Casino Arizona: Doubling Down on Awesome

Casino Arizona: Three lemons!

My friend Tim Ring at KTVK-TV 3 sent out this tweet last night: “Please @CasinoArizona , on behalf of Suns fans everywhere – for the love of all that is holy MAKE. A. NEW. COMMERCIAL. #icanttakeitanymore

When I was back in the ancestral homeland of Phoenix recently, this commercial ran incessantly. It was as much a part of my landscape as Four Peaks, the McDowell Mountains and the South Mountain range.  You must watch. It feels as if Casino Arizona, which is about a five-minute ride from Sun Devil Stadium, rounded up the two dozen gamblers who are most in its debt and agreed to forgive their debts if they just appeared in this ad.


Why a Wing Suit should be atop your Christmas wish list. And after you receive one, you can look forward to your death being chronicled here in a “Summer of Stupid” (or Winter, or Autumn…) item.


Bernanke anagram: Banker en. Okay, I don’t know what to do with those last two letters.

Punxatawney Ben appeared yesterday and saw his shadow, which means that while we will still have quantitative easing, the taper has begun. Basically, Fed chairman Ben Bernanke announced that instead of purchasing $85 BILLION per month in U.S. Bonds and treasuries (and where does the government get that money? It simply prints more! Genius!!!!), it will reduce its purchases to $75 billion per month in January. Dad didn’t take the training wheels off the bicycle completely, he just replaced them with smaller training wheels. And for that reason the stock market spiked late yesterday afternoon. It was basically Uncle Ben, in his final address as Fed Chairman, assuring us that, while we still suffer from a sex addiction, we’re no longer addicted to Japanese gay midget porn. So that’s a step in the right direction.


Somehow a New York Knick not named Carmelo Anthony or J.R. Smith took the team’s stupidest shot of the night, if not the season.

Ira Curry, come on down!” Stone Mountain, Ga., woman is one of two confirmed winners of this week’s Mega Millions. Cue the unexpected unhappily-ever-after future.


UCLA vs. No. 8 Duke

ESPN 7:30 p.m.












So, former UCLA coach John Wooden won more NCAA championships than anyone, while current Duke coach Mike (checks spelling for the millionth time) Krzyzewski has won more NCAA games than anyone. The current UCLA coach is Steve Alford, who while at Indiana played for Bob Knight, who was also Coach K’s college coach. I imagine this will all be noted at some point.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING! Wednesday, December 18



Did Sam Bowie ever score 36 points in one game? I’m going to guess no.

1. Lillard Fair

Damian Lillard: scores 36 points, including the game-winning three-pointer, in a 119-116 at Cleveland.

Matthew Lillard: cracks open a beer and waits for agent to phone telling him that Scream 5 is a go.

This was Lillard’s second game-winning bucket in as many contests, both on the road, as he also drained a fallaway runner in overtime at Detroit on Sunday night.

The Men Who Blaze Trails are now an NBA-best 22-4 and it may be time to finally doff the cap at Portland’s draft night decision-making. The franchise that famously selected Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan with the No. 2 pick in the 1984 NBA draft (the Rockets, with the No. 1 pick, chose Hakeem Olajuwon; hard to fault them for that) and Greg Oden ahead of Kevin Durant with the first overall pick in 2007 scored big when it chose Lillard as the 6th pick in 2012. The Weber State product was the NBA’s Rookie of the Year last season and is averaging 20 ppg this season in a complementary scoring role to LeMarcus Aldridge (last night Lillard connected on eight three-pointers).

(By the way, how solid was the 1984 NBA draft? Olajuwon goes No. 1, Jordan 3, Charles Barkley 5 and John Stockton 16.

2. Look Who Won the $636 Million Lottery!

Shut up, MacGruber!

That’s Bruce Dern and Will Forte in Nebraska, a film about a delusional old man who believes that he holds a winning lottery ticket. So, in other words, we are all of us Bruce Dern. Which means that Laura Dern is coming over for Christmas dinner, so you’d better tidy up.

Apparently, two winning tickets were purchased, in Georgia and in San Jose. Meh.

Actually, how cool would it be if Bruce Dern himself won the lottery? That would make it Meta Millions.

Personally, I was amused when I strolled into my local bodega last night and saw five people ahead of me waiting in line to buy Mega Millions tickets. My first thought was, I have a 16.6% chance of winning the Mega Millions just among the people in this store right now, and that’s assuming that we all are buying the same number of tickets. Oh, sure, I still bought five, but there’s a reason people refer to the lottery as “poverty tax.”

3. Where Have You Gone, Norman Dale?

Hoosiers: It’s ‘Saving Private Ryan” with a few less fatalities.

My wife…MY WIFE could score more than two buckets on eleven shots, because I know my wife will at least shot-fake one time…”

That’s Southern Illinois coach Barry Hinson ranting after his Salukis lost last night to fall to 2-8, and of course every one will run with this video, and then they’ll link it to former Coastal Carolina coach David Bennett’s “Be A Dog” rant, and everyone will giggle.


But these coaches are just saying what so many of their peers are thinking: What ever happened to coachable players? Now, sure, there are the Mike Rices of the world (remember him? Rutgers?) who are absolute martinets, tyrants.

Listen to when Hinson says, “This is the big time…people lose their jobs.”

Exactly. In order to compete you need talent. The trick is to develop an atmosphere where talent works in the best interests of the team and where it actually respects-and yes, often fears–the coaching staff. I think that’s why Geno Auriemma prefers coaching women; and I think that’s why Mike Woodson is so miserable these days.

4. U Conn Touch This

The pride of Montella, Italy.

Last night No. 1 Connecticut (10-0) visited No. 2 Duke (10-0) at Cameron Indoor, and it wasn’t even close. The Huskies led by 15 at the half and cruised to an 81-63 victory. You have to hand it to Auriemma: last season he knew he didn’t have the most talent in the Final Four and still the Huskies won the national championship, this in a season when Baylor had Brittany Griner and Notre Dame, whom UConn defeated in the national semifinal, had Skylar Diggins.

That tied Geno with Pat Summitt, his longtime hardwood nemesis since retired, with eight.
He’s gunning for nine now and unless at least two of the Huskies’ starters are injured, I don’t see this team losing a game. They face Louisville, the team they defeated by 33 in last April’s national championship game, twice. That’s the closest I can see them coming to losing. This would be Auriemma’s fifth undefeated season, by the way.

Sophomore Breanna Stewart led the Huskies in both points and rebounds last night, with 24 and 11, respectively.

I spent a season embedded with Geno and the Huskies (2000-01). He’s not an easy man to play for. I try to imagine 18-, 19-year old young women dealing with that scrutiny every day. But I know this: playing for Geno forges their character, and also, that no one can go from George Patton to Don Rickles quicker than he can. He’s a master.

5. “Oh, Give ME a Home…”

Buffalo 66 was a movie. Buffalo 60 is the limit that Refuge officials intend to set.

They’re making cuts among the Colorado Buffaloes, and I’m not talking about the football team. There are 87 head of bison at the Rocky Mountain Wildlife Refuge in Commerce City, Colo., and officials have determined that, in order to prevent over-grazing, they’ll have to cut 27 head (can’t they just put them on food stamps?). Perhaps, literally.

Seriously, I don’t get this, but I’ll confess that I prefer animals to most people. Have you traveled in Montana, Wyoming or the Dakotas? You could set 1,000 bison free up there and no one would ever see them. Can we not rescue these 27 bison before they become someone’s delicious stew? Would it kill CU to have multiple Ralphies? Could we film a sequel to Dancing with Wolves (Dancing With Wolves 2: Prairie Boogaloo) that would get these animals some work? How about a zoo? Doesn’t anyone have room in their backyard?

That’s my Buffalo Stance, Neneh Cherry.


Holly Anderson provides a college football dictionary on Grantland that is up to date. It’s nice to see an updated 2013 dictionary that does not contain the word “selfie.”


Torah! Torah! Torah!

The Games at Sochi will not leave you snow-bored.

That’s Torah Bright, Aussie snowboarder, and reigning Olympic gold medalist in the Women’s half-pipe. Like most Winter Olympians…who don’t form their own bands and play a set at Lollapalooza… Bright vanished from view after Vancouver in 2010. But Outside Magazine has found the 26 year-old New South Wales native in time for a pictorial. Because, of course, she’s the reigning gold medalist in a cool sport.


Christmas Jammies. Finally, a modern family that I can enjoy.

Sure, the Holderness family’s diabolical plan is working brilliantly by my posting this, but Christmas Jammies is a wonderfully creative video. A little TMI there at the end, Penn, with the news of your vasectomy, but even that was handled well.


Billy Baker’s Twitter feed is the best Christmas story we’ve read this season.

Remote Patrol

Shaun of the Dead

Cinemax 6:30 p.m.

Did this film jump-start the zombie craze?

I  know, I know. Pacers at Heat. But LeBron may not play and you are going to be so OVER this story-line by April. Why not watch the best zombie comedy ever filmed? It’s Simon Pegg’s breakout role, although you may argue that he still has not truly broken out. This 2004 film is definitely worth watching, and it’ll put you in the mood for Christmas?